Creating a New Discourse – reading the work of blind visual artists
October- November 2017
A diverse group of professional artists will be hosting a variety of exciting and thought-provoking events during this residency period at the Guest Projects Space. The artists, all are registered blind and have distinctly different art practices will create and finish new bodies of work. These works will be exhibited in conjunction with a programme of workshops and talks that will critically explore the issues blind and visually impaired artists currently face. The events will aim to speak to and engage with, curators, artists, academic researchers (in the arts, humanities and bio-medical sciences) and of course, those who enjoy encountering artwork.
The reading of visual artwork created by artists with low or no vision is a problematic activity for both the reader and the artist. Disclosing blindness as a condition of production changes how the work is received. The term, ‘blind’ itself can be confusing as only a small proportion of those registered as blind have no vision at all and levels of residual vision can significantly vary. Consequently, the practices of ‘blind artists’ can often be confined to two unsatisfactory camps of definition. These can be crudely summarized as: ‘amazing feats of achievement’ or ‘special needs outputs’. In both cases a negative stigmatisation results, which makes it difficult for the practices to be rigorously investigated and for the artists to be taken seriously as professional practitioners.
During this residency and the associated events, the participating artists will explore ways in which a new discourse can be developed surrounding art created by artists who are blind. Questions surrounding disability and difference in the current political and social climate will also be raised and we are confident that this will provide useful cross over’s that resonate with other demographics.